Downtown Salina is once again thriving with activity
Santa Fe Avenue is the lifeblood of Downtown Salina, Kansas, with 2/3 of a mile of prime retail, dining, and shopping destinations. With four-lanes of through traffic and angled parking on both sides of the street, the previous corridor cross section left very little space in the pedestrian realm for HDR Engineering, Inc., a landscape architecture firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, to design aesthetic enhancements and pedestrian safety.
Previous enhancements to the corridor were last completed in the 1980s and many of the design features were no longer desirable, including cracked sidewalks and empty planters where there were once trees and other vegetation. Many closed storefronts and vacant buildings were scattered along the four main blocks of the downtown district. In 2018, The City of Salina made a strategic effort to revitalize their downtown and to spur redevelopment and reinvestment in the area by focusing on catalyst projects that would help attract visitors from, not only the local area, but the greater region surrounding Salina. Some of these projects include the Salina Fieldhouse, a multi-purpose indoor facility that attracts youth sports teams to the area; the Homewood Suites, a major downtown hotel; the Alley, an indoor entertainment facility featuring bowling, laser tag, an arcade, and sports grill; and the American Classics Auto Museum, which is an education museum focusing on classic cars. To supplement these catalyst projects, the city established a strong connection to the art community by putting a yearly exhibition together called SculptureTour Salina, which curates between fifteen to twenty-five sculptures each year and carefully sites the sculptures within the historic downtown for the viewing enjoyment of the community. The self-guided tour allows individuals to vote on their favorite piece each year and the sculpture with the most votes at the end of the year is purchased by the City of Salina and remains within the community for the public to enjoy.